The moment has been going on for over a year, but it has gained a new glow on social media in the last few days. The story of Suzy and Donna, mother and daughter sharing the controls of the same plane, is making many Internet users dream of returning to the days when they could travel without restrictions.
A daughter of pilots, Donna Garrett grew up watching her father leave to work as a pilot for commercial aircraft. He grew up watching his mother go out to do the same. Flying was in his blood since birth and it was unsurprisingly that he chose a career in civil aviation.
In September 2019, the family passion for aviation sat mother and daughter in the “cockpit” of the same plane, on a domestic flight by the American company SkyWest.
It was more than a year ago, a unique moment for the Garrett family, rare in the whole world: mother and daughter, as pilot and copilot of the same commercial flight. A moment that once again furrowed the ethereal of the Internet, on the wings of social networks, more than 12 months after taking off.
“We knew it was really special,” said Suzy Garret, who was turning 30 at SkyWest when she shared the cockpit with her daughter, Donna, to the surprise of many.
“Passengers, flight attendants, airport personnel, many wanted to take pictures with us. This helped to make the day even more special,” recalled Suzy Garrett.
“I was really surprised by the reactions – just as I am now because I went viral. I had never taken so many pictures since my wedding day,” she recalled, speaking to CNN.
The moment, especially for both women, is also a milestone in the history of civil aviation. A branch of men, mostly white, where women are rare. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 92.5% of American pilots are men, of which 93.7% are Caucasian.
Suzy guarantees that she never felt any kind of discrimination from the other drivers. The suspicion comes from outside the cockpit. “I had to win people over, beyond the profession,” he commented, recalling that “comments from passengers and people in the aviation terminal” are not uncommon when they know that the pilot is a woman.
And many times, he says, this can be seen in the surprised face they make. Nothing to bother Suzy, a small woman, with 1.58 meters, who started to give rise to the dream of flying in the 80s of the last century, when aviation was not only a men’s club but had almost exclusive entrance to trained pilots military.
“It wasn’t tall enough to join the air force,” said Suzy. Determined, she enrolled in an aviation school to take the pilot course in 1984. She also worked as a flight instructor before joining SkyWest in 1989.
After 30 years in the service of the same company, he made history by sharing the cockpit with his daughter, Donna, who joined the company in April 2019. “I have to be honest. I only recently realized how pioneering my mother had been in this area” , Donna Garrett said, also speaking to CNN.
“I grew up seeing her in this role and it was only when I was older, and I was trying to make my career in this area, that I realized how rare my mother’s position was in this profession and I understood that what I was doing at that time was truly impressive “, underlined Donna.
Mother and daughter liked to travel together more often, but the pandemic cut off their wings. In the memory of both were several flights on the west coast of the USA, in which they shared the cockpit.
“I had never had the opportunity to fly with such an experienced commander,” argues Donna. “And, being my mother, we have a great common base, which facilitates communication,” he added.
Mother, daughter, but above all committed professionals, warns Suzy, claiming that on the plane family ties are outside the cabin.
“Still, it’s really nice to look and see you sitting next to me,” acknowledged Suzzy. “I am very, very proud of her, she does a fantastic job,” he added.
The family’s connection to the civil road does not end with Suzzy and Donna. Not even the pride of a mother, who expects to see her son, who recently took his pilot’s license, sharing the cockpit with his sister.
“It would be really cool to have Donna as a pilot and him as a co-pilot on the same flight. Maybe I would sit in the back, as a passenger,” said Suzy. “It was a dream come true,” he added.
A dream postponed by the pandemic, which delayed the hiring of the son, whose name was not revealed, and who would join SkyWest in 2020.